Terrassa Haus: Passivhaus Living in heart of Catalonia

Terrassa Haus not only showcases the feasibility of Passivhaus principles in multi-residential developments but also demonstrates the economic viability of sustainable building practices. By prioritizing energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, Terrassa Haus offers residents a comfortable, healthy living environment while significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

Terrassa Haus: Passivhaus Living in heart of Catalonia

Terrassa Haus offers residents a comfortable, healthy living environment while significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

Terrassa Haus is a testament to energy efficiency and sustainability, being the first multi-residential building in Catalonia to achieve Passivhaus Classic certification.

Terrassa Haus Passivhaus Praxis exterior

In the bustling city of Terrassa, Catalonia, Spain, an innovative residential development is redefining sustainable living. Terrassa Haus is the first multi-residential building in the city to achieve Passivhaus certification, setting a new standard for energy efficiency and environmental consciousness in the region. Developed by Cambolico and designed by architects Antoni Espona & Xavier Torcal, with Passivhaus consultancy, HVAC design, and Blower Door testing conducted by Oliver Style and Bega Clavero from Praxis Resilient Buildings, the project represents a bold step towards a greener future.

Commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability

At first glance, Terrassa Haus blends modern design with eco-friendly features. The building comprises four floors, including ground-level commercial spaces and three floors of thoughtfully designed apartments ranging from 76 m2 to 154 m2. With a total floor area of 1142m2, the development offers residents a range of amenities, including a communal co-working space, bike room, gym, and a communal pool.

What truly sets Terrassa Haus apart, however, is its commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability. Built upon an existing concrete structure abandoned during the economic crisis of 2007, the building underwent a comprehensive retrofitting process to achieve Passivhaus certification. An external thermal insulation system with EPS insulation was meticulously applied over ceramic brick, supplemented by an additional layer of Knauf Insulation mineral wool in the service void, chosen specifically because it incorporates a bio-based E-Technology binder, free from added phenols and formaldehydes, protecting both the workers on site and future occupants from harmful emissions.. The roof is insulated with XPS insulation, ensuring maximum thermal performance throughout the building envelope. With an impressive n50 value of 0.6 air changes per hour, Terrassa Haus passed the Blower Door airtightness test with flying colours, reaffirming its status as a beacon of environmental responsibility and cutting-edge construction practices.

Consultoría Passivhaus - Terrassa Haus. Terrasse
Terrassa Haus Passivhaus Office

The attention to detail extends to the windows, heating, cooling, and hot water provision

The attention to detail extends to the windows, where Rehau PVC frames with argon-filled low-emissivity glazing were installed. Swisspacer insulated glazing spacers further enhance the windows’ energy efficiency, minimizing heat loss and maximizing natural light penetration.

For heating, cooling, and hot water provision, Terrassa Haus relies on individual Hitachi all-in-one heat pumps installed in each apartment. These state-of-the-art systems offer residents personalized climate control while minimizing energy consumption. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery is achieved through individual Soler & Palau Passivhaus certified ventilation units, strategically positioned to draw in fresh air from the façade walls and extract stale air to the roof via shared ducts.

Terrassa Haus Passivhaus Praxis Barcelona
Terrassa Haus Passivhaus Praxis Barcelona

Terrassa Haus serves as an inspiring example of what can be achieved through innovation and collaboration

Terrassa Haus not only showcases the feasibility of Passivhaus principles in multi-residential developments but also demonstrates the economic viability of sustainable building practices. By prioritizing energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, Terrassa Haus offers residents a comfortable, healthy living environment while significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

As cities worldwide strive to combat climate change and promote sustainable development, projects like Terrassa Haus serve as inspiring examples of what can be achieved through innovation and collaboration. By embracing Passivhaus standards, developers, architects, and building professionals can pave the way towards a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come. Terrassa Haus stands as a testament to the power of visionary thinking and a beacon of hope for sustainable urban living.

Photos: terrassahaus.com

Passive House Database iPHa

El Niu: Andorra’s Pioneering Passivhaus Plus Certified Building

In the heart of Andorra, Europe’s 6th smallest state, a groundbreaking architectural marvel named “El Niu” is redefining sustainable living. Meaning “The Nest” in Catalan, El Niu is a testament to innovative design, energy efficiency, and environmental consciousness.

El Niu: Andorra’s Pioneering Passivhaus Plus Certified Building

El Niu is a testament to innovative design, energy efficiency, and environmental consciousness

Nestled 1275 meters above sea level, El Niu accommodates 11 dwelling units across four floors

El Niu: Andorra's Pioneering Passivhaus Plus Certified Building

In the heart of Andorra, Europe’s 6th smallest state, a groundbreaking architectural marvel named “El Niu” is redefining sustainable living. Meaning “The Nest” in Catalan, El Niu is a testament to innovative design, energy efficiency, and environmental consciousness.

Passivhaus Plus Certification

El Niu proudly stands as Andorra’s first multi-residential building to achieve the prestigious Passivhaus Plus certification. This accolade, awarded by Passivhaus Certifier Oliver Style of Praxis Resilient Buildings, is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the development team, including Lluis Lopez Castro of Propietats y Gestió and architect Antoni Martí.

Bernabé Rodríguez’s expertise in mechanical and electrical services engineering, coupled with Pere Marcé Coma’s airtightness Blower Door tests, played important roles in attaining this esteemed certification. Months of dedication and meticulous attention to detail, together with countless rolls of airtight tape, have marked a transformative milestone for Andorra’s architectural landscape.

El Niu Andorra's first multi-residential building with Passivhaus Plus certification

High Altitude, High Efficiency

Nestled 1275 meters above sea level, El Niu accommodates 11 dwelling units across four floors. Facing challenging weather conditions, with temperatures dropping below -10 ºC and winds reaching up to 40 km/h in the depths of winter, El Niu will ensure residents remain warm and cozy. This is achieved through a combination of high levels of insulation, thermal bridge-free construction, high-performance windows, excellent airtightness, and a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery, all contributing to create an impeccable thermal envelope.

Pioneering Heating and Hot Water Solutions

El Niu sets a new standard in energy-efficient heating and hot water systems with the use of Pichler PKOM 4 compact heat pump units for each apartment, supplied by Orkli. These Passivhaus certified all-in-one units provide mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, heating, cooling, and hot water generation. Notably, they eliminate the need for large and energy-intensive centralised heating and hot water systems, addressing sustainability concerns by minimizing energy consumption, while reducing winter heat losses and summer heat gains that can be perilous for overheating.


Innovative lightweight façade systems

The outer walls of the building consist of two distinct light weight steel frame systems: the Passivhaus certified Passivhaus External Wall System by Knauf Insulation, and the Archisol and Promisol systems by Arcelor Mittal. The Passivhaus certification of the Knauf Insulation system guarantees thermal bridge-free construction and added an extra layer of quality assurance. In addition, Knauf insulation used throughout the building is made from more than 80% recycled glass and incorporates the bio-based E-Technology binder, free from added phenols and formaldehydes, protecting both the workers on site and future occupants from harmful emissions.

Passivhaus certified Passivhaus External Wall System by Knauf Insulation,

Airtightness Excellence

Xavier Rodriguez from SIGA provided airtightness technical support, tapes, and membranes. Thanks to the meticulous work of Lluis Lopez and his team, they met the stringent Blower Door test requirement of n50 ≤ 0.6 ach, guaranteeing a draught-free, high-comfort living experience for El Niu’s occupants, irrespective of the external weather conditions.

Solar Power: The Green Finale

El Niu’s commitment to sustainability culminates in a 37.7 kWp solar PV array projected to generate 91% of the building’s energy consumption. This transformative addition turns El Niu into a nearly net-zero energy powerhouse, using approximately 71% less energy than pre-2010 buildings in Andorra. Impressively, it achieves this while emitting only 5976 kg of CO2eq per annum, contributing significantly to the reduction of the building’s carbon footprint.


In conclusion, El Niu represents a paradigm shift in Andorran residential construction, blending architectural innovation with environmental responsibility. As a Passivhaus Plus certified building, it not only provides a haven for its occupants but also sets a precedent for sustainable living in Andorra and beyond. El Niu is more than a nest: it’s a beacon of hope for a greener, more energy-efficient future.

For more technical information, check out our project data sheet here and in the International Passivhaus Database

Prefabricated passive houses, a cornerstone of Construction 4.0

Prefabrication or industrialised construction is emerging as one of the cornerstones of what is known as Construction 4.0. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the objective of this 4th Industrial Revolution is to ditch obsolete and traditional construction methods and improve productivity by more than 50%, through- among other things- the optimization of resources based on prefabrication, zero waste and circularity.

Prefabricated passive houses, a cornerstone of Construction 4.0

Is it possible to build a prefabricated Passivhaus building? Of course it is!

Prefabrication or industrialised construction is emerging as one of the cornerstones of what is known as Construction 4.0

Prefabricated passive houses

Prefabrication or industrialised construction is emerging as one of the cornerstones of what is known as Construction 4.0. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the objective of this 4th Industrial Revolution is to ditch obsolete and traditional construction methods and improve productivity by more than 50%, through- among other things- the optimization of resources based on prefabrication, zero waste and circularity.

Alongside this, we have the growing trend of passive houses, or homes certified to the Passivhaus standard, a voluntary certification seal that prioritises maximum comfort and indoor air quality for users, with almost zero energy consumption. It is characterised by close attention to detail in the design phase and rigorous on site control to guarantee a high construction quality, and is based on 8 principles:

  • Bioclimatic design
  • Thermal insulation
  • Air tightness
  • Reduction of thermal bridges
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery
  • High performance doors and windows
  • Shading devices
  • Efficient mechanical & electrical systems

The increase in the number of buildings with Passivhaus certification during the last 10 years is notable, reaching more than 3,86 million square metres of certified floor area in 2024. In 2020, Spain was the country with the second most Passivhaus certified square metres in the world, led by China.

The marriage of prefabrication with the Passivhaus standard seems a logical step to improve construction quality, reduce execution times and increase productivity. Let’s have a look at some of these together.


Prefabrication: What is it and how is it applied to construction?

Prefabrication or industrialization is the mass production, off site, of the construction elements of a building, transferring work that was previously carried out on site to a workshop or factory. It generally includes structural elements and thermal insulation, assembled in a series of modules such as slabs, façade walls, partitions or roofs. These modules are transported to the building site and assembled, like pieces of a puzzle to form the building.

Industrialisation opens up interesting possibilities, such as the off site installation of windows, external shading systems and some services such as electricity, waste water, ventilation or heating and cooling equipment, among others.

Prefabrication: What is it and how is it applied to construction?

Advantages and drawbacks of prefabrication in passive houses

  • Rapid onsite assembly, allowing for quick weather-proofing and protection from rain and wind. This is especially important in timber construction, a material widely used in the construction of passive houses.
  • Greater precision and build quality, essential for the construction of Passivhaus buildings, above all in relation to airtightness detailing and the sealing of windows and service penetrations.
  • Less waste on site and a reduced environmental impact.
  • Optimization of materials, through standardised production and off site assembly, reducing material waste and costs..
  • Detailed design of the project has to be fully complete before manufacturing and before on-site assembly begins, and allows for fewer or no modifications once on site. It should be noted that Passivhaus projects already require detailed design to be complete before beginning construction, and allow for very little on site improvisation anyway. 
  • The time saved in assembling the prefabricated structure on site, is not always reflected in the total execution time of the building. Services, fittings and interior finishes continue to slow construction down.
  • The size of the prefabricated elements is limited, in width and height, by the size of the transport trucks and the free height on the roads that connect the factory with the construction site.

Is it possible to build a prefabricated Passivhaus building? Of course it is! Below you can find some examples

LILU´s House: bio-based Passivhaus Plus

Passivhaus design and consultancy, for this single-family house in Abrera, Barcelona, designed by architecture firm OMB Arquitectura and built by House Habitat.

Single-family home in Sitges

Single-family home in Sitges Passivhaus design & consultancy, Blower Door Tests, M & E design, Site supervision Description Passivhaus design and consultancy, M & E engineering, and…

Original article written by Oliver Style and posted at caloryfrio.com

2023, a year of challenges and achievements: 6 flagship Passivhaus certification and consultancy projects

We’re proud to have carried out projects in various countries, in both new-build and retrofit, promoting the development of sustainable construction and contributing to the creation of comfortable, healthy and energy efficient space.

2023, a year of challenges and achievements: 6 flagship Passivhaus certification and consultancy projects

Over the course of last year we’re proud to have participated in both new-build and retrofit projects, helping promote the development of sustainable and low-carbon architecture.

We’ve been able to contribute to the creation of comfortable, healthy and energy efficient spaces, fostering a more conscious and responsible lifestyle.

6 flagship Passivhaus certification and consultancy projects

2023 was an exciting year at Praxis, full of challenges and achievements. We’re proud to have carried out projects in various countries, in both new-build and retrofit, promoting the development of sustainable construction and contributing to the creation of comfortable, healthy and energy efficient spaces. Below are a selection of some of the most challenging projects we took part in over the course of 2023.


Passivhaus consultancy projects

At Praxis we are experts in applying passive and active design strategies that improve thermal comfort and reduce energy consumption in buildings. These are some of the projects we’ve taken part in during 2023:

Terrassahaus: multi-residential block of 14 homes in Terrassa

Terrassahaus: multi-residential block of 14 homes in Terrassa

We delivered the Passivhaus design and consultancy, on-site supervision and Blower Door air tightness tests for this pioneering project in Terrassa city center that has achieved Passivhaus Classic Certification. This is the first multi-residential building with Passivhaus certification from the real estate developer Camoblico, and marks a before and after in the company’s trajectory.

ICONIC: high performance sports center in Andorra

ICONIC: high performance sports center in Andorra

Praxis carried out the design and Passivhaus consultancy for this ambitious project, together with thermodynamic simulation with Design Builder, to assess thermal comfort in critical areas. Designed by Engitec, the project is located at 2.500 meters above sea level and combines retrofit and new construction with prefabricated building enclosures that can be rapidly assembled during the window of summer months when construction is possible. It’s been by far one of the most complex projects we’ve taken part in, with extreme climate conditions and extensive facilities, including restaurants, industrial kitchens, sports spaces, heated technical pools and a residential area for athletes

Mirador de Gràcia: a nursing home in Barcelona

Mirador de Gràcia: a nursing home in Barcelona

This is a large and complex 5000 m2 new-build nursing home, nestled in the hills above Barcelona. The project was designed by Genars and developed by FIATC, and is set to become their first elderly people’s residence to obtain Passivhaus Classic certification. We delivered Passivhaus design and consultancy, Blower Door air tightness tests and the site supervision.

 


Passivhaus building certifications

At Praxis Resilient Buildings we are official certifiers accredited by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany. These are some of the projects in which we’ve participated in over the course of the last year.

Passivhaus Premium certification in a single-family home in the Barcelona province

Passivhaus Premium certification in a single-family home in the Barcelona province

This beautiful home in Sant Pere de Ribes was designed by SgArq, a design and build practice based in Sitges that is firmly committed to delivering all projects to Passivhaus standard. The home achieved Passivhaus premium certification, the most demanding class of certification, generating around 5 times more energy than it consumes.

Passivhaus Classic social housing multi-residential building in Andorra

Passivhaus Classic social housing multi-residential building in Andorra

Over the course of 2023 we completed the Passivhaus project audit for this 3,500 m2 high-rise residential building, designed by architects Pau Iglesias and Jacint Gil, which includes commercial spaces on the ground floors and social housing above. The project is being developed by the Government of Andorra and is aiming for Passivhaus Classic certification, with completion set for late 2024. 

EnerPHit Certification at the Aldabe community and sports center in the Basque Country

EnerPHit Certification at the Aldabe community and sports center in the Basque Country

This retrofit project, designed by Energiehaus Arquitectos, includes offices, a theater, libraries, playroom, training classrooms and a sports center with an indoor heated pool and multi-sports hall. The project presents significant challenges due to the complexity of the building and the variety of uses. EnerPHit is the Passivhaus certification seal for the deep energy retrofitting of existing buildings.


SIf you want to check out some of the other projects we’ve been working on, have a look at our projects section. At Praxis, we help our clients create healthy, efficient and comfortable buildings with excellent air quality and minimal energy consumption, prepared for extreme weather conditions and immune from rocketing energy prices.

Praxis takes part in the 15th Spanish Passivhaus Conference in Valencia

Praxis will participate in 3 sessions at the Spanish Passivhaus Conference. We would love to see you and in Valencia!

Praxis is delivering three presentations at the Spanish Passivhaus Conference in Valencia

The 15th Spanish Passivhaus Conference takes place between November 29th and December 1st.

Don’t miss the one of the key conferences in energy efficient construction, which includes 2 hours of master classes, 11 hours of technical presentations, and 5 hours of practical sessions!

Spanish Passivhaus Conference in Valencia

From November 29th to December 1st, the fifteenth Passivhaus Conference will take place at the Valencia Conference Center. Organized by the Spanish Passivhaus Building Platform (PEP), this event has become a reference meeting point in the sector and one of the main forums for innovation in Passivhaus on the Iberian peninsula.

At Praxis we are very happy to be able to participate as speakers in three presentations. Oliver Style and Bega Clavero will make their interventions on November 29th and 30th. We’d love to see you in Valencia!

Surfing the (heat) wave: can I use the PHPP to size cooling equipment?

Passivhaus Conference Valencia | Praxis Resilient Buildings

Speaker: Oliver Sytle, CEO of Praxis. Passivhaus Certifier and Consultant

Date:November 29th, from 19:00h to 20:00h


It is estimated that by 2050, there will be 6 billion air conditioning units installed in the world. Global warming is causing ever more frequent heat waves, and with rising energy costs, it is crucial to optimize passive cooling strategies and correctly size cooling equipment. In this session, we will look at how to modify the boundary conditions of the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) to correctly size cooling equipment and achieve environmental comfort with minimal energy consumption.

Modelling of air-to-air heat pumps in the new PHPP version 10

Modeling of refrigeration systems | Praxis Resilient Buildings

Speaker: Oliver Sytle, CEO of Praxis. Passivhaus Certifier and Consultant

Date: November 30th, from 12:00h to 14:00h


The latest version of the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) program incorporates new functionalities and the possibility of modelling cooling equipment with far greater precision than in PHPP 9.

In this technical session, Oliver will explain the data entry requirements for modelling inverter air-air cooling equipment in the PHPP10, looking at the different operating modes (“normal mode”, “silent mode”, and “dehumidification mode”) and the Energy Efficiency Ratio at maximum and minimum power.

Eco Hub #Learnlife. Passivhaus educational modules for hot climates

Eco Hub. Passivhaus educational modules for hot climates. Passivhaus Conference

Speaker: Bega Clavero, Chief Project Officer at Praxis. Passivhaus Tradesperson

Date: November 30th, from 15:45 to 17:20h


In a context where climatic conditions and air quality in Spanish educational centers are inadequate in 84% of the time, the creation of comfortable, adaptable, and healthy learning environments with good air quality and very high energy efficiency, suitable for warm climates, is a priority.

In this session, Bega Clavero will present Eco Hub, an educational module with Passivhaus Classic certification designed for warm climates with ex-situ construction techniques, designed and developed by Learnlife. The building is a learning centre, based on a scalable construction system that is adaptable to the needs of each institution, prefabricated and modular, removable and transportable to any other location, and built with low-emission and low embodied energy materials.

 

Casa AYA: Latin America’s sustainable marvel combining straw bales and Passive House Standard

In the department of Canelones, Uruguay, a modest but groundbreaking architectural gem has emerged. Casa AYA stands as a testament to innovation, combining straw bale construction with the rigorous Passivhaus standard

Casa AYA: Latin America’s sustainable marvel combining straw bales and Passive House Standard

In the department of Canelones, Uruguay, a modest but groundbreaking architectural gem has emerged

Casa AYA stands as a testament to innovation, combining straw bale construction with the rigorous Passivhaus standard

Casa AYA: Latin America's sustainable marvel combining straw bales and Passive House Standard
In the department of Canelones, Uruguay, a modest but groundbreaking architectural gem has emerged – Casa AYA. Designed by Martin Comas of Arquitectura Regenerativa, this eco-friendly dwelling redefines sustainable living in Latin America. Casa AYA stands as a testament to innovation, combining straw bale construction with the rigorous Passivhaus standard, marking a significant milestone in the region’s environmentally conscious architecture.

Redefining conventional construction

Casa AYA challenges conventional construction practices by achieving a remarkable 70% reduction in the use of concrete compared to traditional building methods. The design team achieved this impressive feat by using locally sourced timber on raised foundations and straw bale insulation, a design decision that reflects the essence of the project: reducing the environmental impact of the built environment while providing a super comfortable, healthy home with absurdly small energy bills.

Straw bale innovation

The core innovation of Casa AYA lies in its use of prefabricated, compressed wheat straw panels for the floor and wall panels. These modules, crafted by a local company called BioFraming, provide a sustainable alternative to traditional construction systems, reducing the home’s environmental footprint and contributing to superior energy efficiency.

compressed wheat straw panels for the floor and wall panels at Casa Aya

Passivhaus and thermal excellence

One of the standout features is its Passivhaus compliant, thermal bridge-free envelope. With a minimum of 20 cm of thermal insulation meticulously integrated into the floor, walls, and roof, the house is optimized for energy efficiency. Such attention to detail ensures that the home maintains a comfortable and consistent indoor temperature throughout the year.

Passivhaus and thermal excellence at Casa Aya

Martin Comas, project architect, explains the path he’s trodden to get here and his recent immersion in the world of Passivhaus

“Before 2019, our constructions were made of concrete, brick and glass, without much real or conceptual technology. That was until I came across Passivhaus. It was a before and after thing…It’s something that opens your mind and gives you tools to take architecture to a much higher level.”

“At first, Passivhaus seemed very German to me…like, very far away. And I wondered…can this be done in Uruguay? Will I be able to find suppliers, labour, know-how and so on…and at reasonable cost? Basically, I was asking myself: is it possible?”

“With this project we not only showed that it was possible, but also, we added some layers of difficulty. For example, we set out to have the smallest possible carbon footprint (using compressed straw wherever possible). And we also set out to build it cheaper than local standard construction, with local labour and in a similar timeframe. In the end we were able to achieve all these goals. It was very challenging, but we are very proud to have managed to raise the bar for construction in Uruguay (which- to be honest- is very low).” 

Km zero and draught-free

To further celebrate its connection to the local environment, the walls of Casa AYA were plastered with clay sourced directly from the site, creating a harmonious union between the building and its surroundings. Furthermore, a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery was installed, providing excellent indoor air quality with minimal heat loss. The Blower Door airtightness test yielded a result of n50=1.2 ach: not enough to achieve one of the project goals of PHI Low Energy Demand certification, but nonetheless, around 10 times more draught-free than standard construction in the area. When combined with controlled ventilation, reducing draughts and air leaks improves thermal comfort, reduces heat loss and energy bills, and minimizes the risk of moisture damage and unnecessary maintenance costs.

The walls of Casa AYA were plastered with clay sourced directly from the site
Casa AYA stands as a testament to innovation, combining straw bale construction with the rigorous Passivhaus standard

Casa AYA is more than just a home: it’s a symbol of sustainable innovation and a testament to what can be achieved when modern design meets an environmentally conscious mindset. This pioneering project in Carrasco, Uruguay, sets a new standard for environmentally friendly construction in Latin America, proving that we can live in harmony with nature while enjoying the comforts of contemporary living. Casa AYA’s successful integration of modular straw bale construction with the Passivhaus standard serves as an inspiration for architects, builders, and homeowners looking to embrace a more sustainable future.  

After handover, we have asked the architect: what would you recommend to someone when buying or renting a home?

“I would recommend that, if you can, go visit someone who already lives in a Passivhaus, so you can hear a person explain, in a real and non-technical way, what it’s like to live and feel a high-performance house, designed and built for the climate of the next 50 years. That- I think- is fundamental for anyone who is thinking of building a house.  When our clients, who’ve have already been living in these kinds of houses for a while, go to visit their parents or friends, they always comment on how different it is to live in a house with even temperatures in all spaces, damp-free, comfortable and with great air quality”.

Congratulations to Martin Comas and the team at Arquitectura Regenerativa, for designing and building one of the most sustainable homes, not only in the country, but also in the region. Do you want to build or retrofit a nearly-zero energy learning space with excellent air quality, great comfort, and absurdly low energy bills? Contact us and let’s talk through your project.

Photod: Martín Comas

The academic year kicks off in Praxis! We interviewed two of our students to find out how they got along.

The academic year kicks off in Praxis! We interviewed two of our students to find out how they got along. The academic year has also started in Praxis. For this autumn we’ve prepared two Passivhaus courses we’re very excited about We want to share with you the experiences of two of our students, who are …

The academic year kicks off in Praxis! We interviewed two of our students to find out how they got along.

The academic year has also started in Praxis. For this autumn we’ve prepared two Passivhaus courses we’re very excited about

We want to share with you the experiences of two of our students, who are successfully skilling-up in Passivhaus construction.

Casa Sg Costa

Photo: Joan Giribet

The academic year has also started in Praxis. For this autumn we’ve prepared two Passivhaus courses that we’re very excited about. On October 24th, we start our Construction Verifier course, and on November 7th we’ll begin our Site Supervisor course. Both courses (currently in Spanish only, but soon available in English!) will help you gain advanced skills to successfully meet the on-site challenges of large-scale Passivhaus builds.

We want to share with you the experiences of two of our students, who are successfully skilling-up in Passivhaus construction. We’re really happy to see how more and more professionals are working towards creating sustainable and energy efficient architecture. We spoke with Toni Picó, CEO of Growing Buildings and Passivhaus Tradesperson, and Álvaro Martínez, CEO of Martinez Gil, technical architect and Passivhaus Designer.

I feel very satisfied. It’s everything I hoped for and more!

“The course has an eminently practical tone, without skimping on the theoretical concepts. I’ve learnt a lot from the different teachers, talking about real projects.”

Toni Picó

CEO at Growing Buildings

Passivhaus Tradesperson

I’ve taken a step further as an expert in Passivhaus

“I’m really happy to have taken the course. I highly recommend it to professionals who want to prepare for getting on-site with high-performance building projects.”

Álvaro Martinez

Technical Architect

Passivhaus Designer


Praxis: Which course have you taken with us?

Toni P: I did the Passivhaus Site Supervisor course and passed the exam, so now I have the additional qualification of “Site Supervisor”, the add-on to my Passivhaus Tradesperson qualification, which I already had. When I heard that Praxis was giving this course, I didn’t hesitate for a moment to sign up, so that I could become the first professional in Spain to achieve this qualification!

Álvaro M: I took the Construction Verifier course. I managed to pass the exam, so I’ve got the additional qualification of Construction Verifier, the add-on to my Passivhaus Designer qualification. I’m the 1st certified Construction Verifier in Spain so I’m excited about that!


Praxis: What was your work like, before doing our course?

Toni P: I’ve been working for more than 25 years in the real estate and construction sector and 6 years in the Passivhaus sector. I work as Project Manager or Main Contractor, for the construction of single-family Passive Houses. From now on, I’ll also offer the Site Supervisor service for developers, homebuilders, contractors, and architectural and Project Management practices, who are building high-performance buildings to Passivhaus standard.

Álvaro M: I have been working in Ibiza for about 10 years, and lucky enough to have participated in several Passivhaus projects.


Praxis: What led you to sign up for the course?

Toni P: I’ve built several passive houses and I have been working with Praxis for many years, so I was confident going into the course, and excited to learn new skills to help me improve the Passivhaus building projects that I’m working on. Above all, I’m keen to apply what I’ve learnt and do the Passivhaus Site Supervision on other projects now!

Álvaro M: : I’ve known the Praxis team for a while now, both in the teaching and professional fields, so that gave me a lot of confidence.

Praxis: How do you feel after doing our course and how has it helped you?

Toni P: Very happy to have done it, with the feeling of having learned and having taken another step forward as an expert in Passivhaus construction.

Álvaro M: I feel very satisfied, it’s everything I expected and even more. The course has had an eminently practical tone, without skimping on the theoretical concepts. The general level of the classes has been very high. The diversity of speakers talking about real projects has been very instructive. The course really fills the gap between theory and practice, by training technicians in the on-site challenges of Passivhaus buildings, as Site Supervisors and Construction Verifiers.


Praxis: Who would you recommend this course to?

Toni P: To any professional working on-site in high-performance and Passivhaus projects, whether designers, project or site managers.

Álvaro M: To any professional interested in Passivhaus, and more specifically to construction professionals who want to be specifically prepared for the on-site challenges of high-performance projects. Having previously trained as a Passivhaus Designer and Tradesperson and with on-site experience, I feel that the course has perfectly closed the loop between theory and practice.


Check out our next courses (currently in Spanish only, but soon available in English!)

Icono curso Supervisión

Supervisión de Obra en Edificios Passivhaus

Curso oficial Passivhaus, para obtener competencias avanzadas para la ejecución de obras Passivhaus. Si tienes la titulación Passivhaus Tradesperson, te prepara para el examen para la obtención del título “Supervisión de obra Passivhaus”.

¡Inscripciones abiertas!

Fecha inicio: 07/11/2023

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Curso Supervisión de Obra en edificios Passivhaus

Verificación de la Construcción en Edificios Passivhaus

Curso oficial Passivhaus, obtendrás competencias avanzadas de planificación, gestión, ejecución y entrega de obras Passivhaus. Si tienes la titulación Passivhaus Designer, te prepara para el examen de la obtención del título “Verificación de la construcción Passivhaus”.

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Fecha inicio: 24/10/2023

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    Learnlife’s Eco Hub wins the Low-Tech Prize in the prestigious Green Solutions Awards 2022-2023

    Learnlife’s Eco Hub, the Passivhaus Classic certified pop-up learning space located in Castelldefels, Spain, has won the Low-Tech Prize in the Green Solutions Awards 2022-2023!

    Learnlife’s Eco Hub wins the Low-Tech Prize in the prestigious Green Solutions Awards 2022-2023

    El Eco Hub de Learnlife gana el Premio Low-Tech

    Learnlife’s Eco Hub, the Passivhaus Classic certified pop-up learning space located in Castelldefels, Spain, has won the Low-Tech Prize in the Green Solutions Awards 2022-2023!

    6 experts from the sector analysed the submissions and praised the Eco Hub for the social aspect of its spaces, as well as the non-permanent structure, which blends in with nature and reduces the environmental impact of the building.

    Designed by Sol Espoille, with Ramiro Chiaradia as collaborating architect, and Praxis Resilient Buildings delivering Passivhaus Consultancy and Blower Door testing, the Eco Hub is a pioneering learning space, sustainability, and innovation centre, built on the sea front in Castelldefels, near the city of Barcelona. The project provides a scalable, modular, prefabricated construction system for the rapid assembly of healthy learning spaces with good air quality and thermal comfort, fit for warm climates.

    Exterior Eco Hub de Learnlife
    Interior Eco Hub de Learnlife

    Learnlife is an organisation based in Barcelona whose goal is to build an open ecosystem for a new lifelong learning paradigm alongside existing education systems. Christopher Pommerening, Learnlife Founder, said: “We’re honoured to receive this prestigious award. The Eco Hub was designed to provide a learning environment that enables children to flourish, connects with nature and has a positive environmental impact.

    “The award recognises this and highlights the possibilities for change in developing purpose-inspired learning spaces that have wellbeing and the environment as pillars of their design.” 

    Certificado Casa Pasiva

    The Eco Hub is built from a series of prefabricated lightweight timber modules, built off-site, and assembled in-situ, installed on screw pile foundations, meaning it can be disassembled in the future, moved, and re-assembled elsewhere. The design team prioritised the use of healthy, low emission materials, with low embodied energy, including internal finishes with low-emission paints on fibreboard made from recycled gypsum and cellulose fibres from post-consumer waste. The module is equipped with a Passivhaus certified Zehnder mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery, and a 2.73 kWp solar PV array that generates around 90% of the building’s energy consumption.

    Do you want to build or retrofit a nearly-zero energy learning space with excellent air quality, great comfort, and absurdly low energy bills?

    Contact us here and let’s talk through your project.

    Photos: Jordi Vila Marta – Argotphoto

    Links:

    Casa #SgPi: Premium Passive House in Sant Pere de Ribes, Catalonia

    Premium Passive House in Sant Pere de Ribes. A building that achieves Passivhaus Premium certification generates, 3 to 4 more energy than it consumes, offering optimal thermal comfort, impeccable air quality and absurdly low energy bills.

    Casa #SgPi: Premium Passive House in Sant Pere de Ribes, Catalonia

    Casa #SgPi: vivienda Passivhaus Premium en Sant Pere de Ribes

    What do you do when you come across the existing structure of a house, a remnant of the Spanish real estate bubble of 2007, which left skeletons of building structures scattered throughout the Iberian Peninsula?

    Easy: You re-use it, reducing the project’s embodied carbon and turn it into a Passivhaus Premium! A building that achieves Passivhaus Premium certification generates (through on-site or off-site renewable energy installations), 3 to 4 more energy than it consumes, offering optimal thermal comfort, impeccable air quality and absurdly low energy bills. Sounds impossible? Well, here it’s become a reality…

    La Casa #SgPi acabada

    The completed Casa #SgPi

    La estructura existente antes de la intervención

    The existing structure before the intervention

    Casa #SgPi is designed by architect and Passivhaus Designer Sergi Gargallo  of SgARQ Passivhaus Architecture, and certified by Oliver Style of Praxis Resilient Buildings. The house has WERU Afino One PVC windows, equipped with argon filled low-emissivity triple glazing and insulating spacers, offering excellent thermal and acoustic insulation. “When we close all the windows, the silence inside the house is incredible!”, says Edu Altés, co-developer of the house and CEO of Prot Energía, who did the photovoltaic installation on the roof of the house that generates 11,313 kWh/a of renewable energy. Off-site, Prot Energia has installed another PV generator, owned by them (a requirement for it to be included in the Premium certification) – which generates 10,609 kWh/a, totalling 21,922 kWh/a. The house is expected to consume a total of 6,864 kWh/a. What does this all mean? It means that, in an average year, 3.2 times more energy will be generated from on-site and off-site renewable sources, than the house itself consumes. Way to go!

    El generador fotovoltaico in-situ

    The on-site photovoltaic generator

    Inversor & baterías

    Inverter & batteries

    The fantastic indoor air quality is another thing that the owners of this house comment on

    This is thanks to a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery, which ensures a constant renewal of fresh air and optimal indoor air quality, recovering heat from the exhaust air to preheat the incoming air, thus reducing the heating energy demand in winter. In summer, the process is reversed, and the heat recovery unit cools the incoming air (when the air conditioning is on). Also, when the outdoor temperature is below the indoor temperature, the bypass opens automatically, providing “free cooling”. This also helps to reduce air conditioning consumption.

    Imagen del equipo de medición para el ensayo “Blower Door”

    Image of the measuring equipment for the “Blower Door” test

    Resultado de la infiltraciones de aire a 50Pa de depresión

    Infiltration air flow at -50Pa of pressure

    An excellent result was achieved in the “Blower Door” air tightness test, of n50 = 0.2 air changes per hour, 3 times below the Passivhaus certification limit of n50 ≤ 0.6 ach.  Typically, a newly built home in Spain with an “A” energy certification will have an air permeability of between 3 ach and 6 ach at 50 Pa. This means that- on the one hand- there are no cold draughts in winter that generate discomfort and send energy bills rocketing, and- on the other hand- hot and humid air doesn’t come leaking in through the envelope in summer.

    : vivienda Passivhaus Premium en Sant Pere de Ribes
    : vivienda Passivhaus Premium en Sant Pere de Ribes

    From Praxis Resilient Buildings we’re really proud to have been able to certify this home with the highest certification class of the Passivhaus standard: Premium! Huge congratulations to all the people and companies that participated in the design and on-site: reaching Passivhaus certification isn’t easy, but it’s the result of a lot of hard work and attention to detail…and above all, team work!

    Do you want a Passivhaus certified passive house?, contact us using this form!

    Photos: Joan Giribet & Timo Hoek

    International Passivhaus Projects database: https://www.plataforma-pep.org/ejemplos-ph/casa-sgpi/

    Spanish Passivhaus Platform (PEP) project database: https://passivehouse-database.org/index.php#d_7297

    Casa IDONIA: Passivhaus Plus timber home in Catalonia.

    Casa Idonia is a detached single-family home that has achieved Passivhaus Plus certification: the first timber home in Catalonia to achieve this certification.

    Casa IDONIA: Passivhaus Plus timber home in Catalonia. 

    Casa Idonia is a detached single-family home that has achieved Passivhaus Plus certification. A Passivhaus Plus building has a very high level of energy efficiency and generates more energy than it consumes in a typical year. The predicted total energy consumption for the house using the PHPP modelling tool is 7179 kWh/year, with a solar photovoltaic generation of 7815 kWh/year: approximately 8% more.

    Figure 1: Total consumption and generation, calculated with the PHPP

    The house has a treated floor area of 201m² and has been built with CLT (cross laminated timber) boards, made by Egoin, using radiata pine from the Basque Country. Construction with CLT allows for fast assembly times, dry construction methods and less on-site waste, and a lower environmental impact compared to traditional reinforced concrete or metal structures.

    Figure 2: CLT Timber structure from Egoin, Radiata pine

    Architect Emili Carrero Ramon oversaw the design, with construction carried out by Idonia Group. Oliver Style and Bega Clavero delivered the Passivhaus design, with Progetic installing the mechanical and electrical systems. The house has a compact shape and a good form factor (Aenvelope/ATFA = 2.8), with 8 cm of exterior insulation using Pavatex wood fibre boards on external walls, and an interior services cavity with 5 cm of Knauf Ultracoustic R mineral wool insulation, resulting in a U-value of 0.32 W/m²·K. The roof 18 cm of insulation (U-value = 0.20 W/m²·K) with the main objective of reducing transmission heat gains in the summer.

    A dynamic vapour membrane, together with WERU Afino One PVC windows and top-notch airtightness detailing, provide the necessary airtightness to meet the strict requirements of the Passivhaus certification. In this case, a result of n50 = 0.45 air changes per hour was achieved in the Blower Door test. The airtightness was executed by Ecospai. The windows feature triple low-emissivity glazing and argon gas-filled cavities.

    Figure 3: View of the south facade with pergola and sunshades

    A Zehnder ComfoAir Q 450 HRV unit provides the home’s ventilation system, with high-efficiency heat recovery. The building has a Loxone home automation system. Heating and cooling is provided by an 8 kW Daikin air-to-water heat pump and fan coils for both heating and cooling. The same heat pump produces domestic hot water. A total of sisxtenn 440 Wp photovoltaic panels form a 7 kWp generator, generating the calculated 7,815 kWh/year according to the PHPP calculations.

    Figure 4: Photovoltaic generator on the roof of 7,04 kWp

    At Praxis Resilient Buildings, we have extensive experience in Certification, Consulting, and Blower Door tests for all types of Passivhaus buildings. If you have a project you want to discuss, don’t hesitate to contact us.

    https://passivehouse-database.org/index.php#d_6832